New guidelines have been introduced that address the usage, charging, and storage of battery systems with a capacity of 100Wh and above on yachts. In order to improve onboard safety and align with insurance companies' requirements during incidents, Yachtbuilders, Captains, and Yacht Management companies need to get familiar with these guidelines. While the guidelines are straightforward, they can present challenges when attempting to ensure compliance.
While some aspects of the guidelines pertain to design and construction of charge and storage spaces, there is also a significant emphasis on early detection of degradation and monitoring the State of Health (SoH) of the batteries. Compliance poses challenges due to the limited capabilities of most Battery Monitoring Systems and the complexity of monitoring different battery types.
Hereby some valuable insight are provided on the new formal guidelines, and a way to easily comply to a multitude of them.
MGN 681 (M) fire safety and storage of small electric powered craft on yachts.
Why have these guidelines been established?
In light of a recent surge in yacht fires, resulting in approximately 16 total losses due to fire incidents occurring between August 2022 and 2022, it is acknowledged that not all of these incidents can be directly attributed to Li-ion batteries. However, there is a strong belief that the growing prevalence of equipment powered by Li-ion batteries is connected to the rise in these events. As a result, the MCA has released new formal guidance pertaining to the use of Li-ion batteries on yachts.
Summary of the guidelines
The guidelines primarily address Li-ion batteries with a capacity of 100Wh and above. They serve as an additional requirement to existing statutory regulations and class rules, and also serve as a reference point for insurance companies. While a significant portion of these guidelines focuses on the design and construction of storage and charging areas, an increasing number of guidelines are now emphasizing the early detection of battery degradation. For instance, monitoring the battery's State of Charge (SoC) and State of Health (SoH) is recommended. Additionally, integrating with Alarm Monitoring Systems on ships, implementing Temperature Monitoring in charging and storage spaces, utilizing (IP) camera (infrared) surveillance, and continuously monitoring and alerting for any malfunction or abnormality over time are other important aspects highlighted in the guidelines.
"An increasing set of guidelines are focussing on detecting battery decay in an early stage"
What Yachtbuilders, Captains and Yacht management companies should be aware of.
Despite the increasing presence of Battery Monitoring Systems (BMS) in various products, which can display Voltage, Current, and State of Charge (SoC), not many of them accurately measure the Current Capacity and, consequently, the State of Health (SoH). Therefore, complying with:
Rule 5.3.1. monitor the condition of the battery during charging and storage to supervise cell temperatures, state of charge and state of health.
is not as straightforward as it may appear. Additionally, comprehensively monitoring and collecting data from all batteries on board is not a simple task. There are multiple types of batteries used for different applications, manufactured by different companies, and equipped with different BMS systems and interfaces. It is essential to monitor all of these batteries, integrate them with the ship's Alarm Monitoring System (AMS), and collect data to gain genuine insights into battery decay and predict the remaining useful life (RUL). Furthermore, obtaining insights into battery decay involves considering various other factors, such as discharging currents, ambient temperatures, the number of cycles, and the number of deep discharges, among others. This data must be carefully recorded and stored.
How to easily comply to a multitude these requirements?
To comply to the guideline and establish a connection between all these systems, a comprehensive system is required that can seamlessly integrate, gather, and store battery data. This system should be capable of identifying system malfunctions and detecting battery decay at an early stage. Marinminds has developed their Yacht Monitoring and Maintenance Platform, which simplifies these tasks and allows for the integration of external data sources, such as ambient temperature, to effectively monitor batteries and accurately predict the remaining useful life (RUL) of all onboard battery systems. The implementation of this system is user-friendly, and thanks to Marinminds' expertise in different systems and software development, they can successfully interconnect all the necessary components.
If you are seeking a convenient solution to comply with a range of guidelines concerning Fire Safety and Storage of Small Electric-Powered Craft on Yachts, feel free to contact us.